WASHINGTON (AP) — Fresh signs of a national housing rebound and growing support in public opinion polls boosted President Barack Obama’s bid for a new term in the White House yesterday as Republican rival Mitt Romney struggled to quell his video controversy.
The challenger’s attempts to get his campaign back on track ran into new difficulty in the form of criticism from rank-and-file Republicans concerned about their own election prospects in the fall.
“I have a very different view of the world,” said appointed Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, taking issue with Romney’s dismissive comments about the 47 percent of all Americans who pay no income taxes. Separately, Senate GOP leaders avoided answering questions about their presidential candidate at a news conference in the Capitol.
After days of virtually nonstop political damage control on issues foreign and domestic, Romney assured an audience at a Miami forum that “my campaign is about the 100 percent in America.”
Earlier in the day, at an Atlanta fundraiser, Romney said: “The question of this campaign is not who cares about the poor and the middle class. I do. He (Obama) does. The question is who can help the poor and the middle class. I can. He can’t.”
The former Massachusetts governor spoke about 48 hours after a video emerged that showed him telling donors last May that as a candidate for the White House, “my job is not to worry about” the millions of Americans who don’t earn enough to pay income taxes.
Obama spent the day in the White House, a rarity in a race with less than seven weeks yet to run. He invited democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar to the Oval Office, a chat between two Nobel Peace Prize winners.
Romney raised campaign cash in Georgia in advance of his appearance on a forum hosted by the Spanish-language TV network Univision in battleground Florida, his first before a public audience since the emergence of the videotape. The opening portion of the forum focused on his videotaped comments before moving on to his reluctance to clarify his immigration policy and to his support for Arizona’s controversial immigration law.